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Bernardino Telesio, the Natural Sciences and Medicine in the Renaissance

27.05.2015 | 09:30 s.t - 18:30
Workshop “Bernardino Telesio, the Natural Sciences and Medicine in the Renaissance”

Workshop “Bernardino Telesio, the Natural Sciences and Medicine in the Renaissance”

Workshop des Teilprojektes B06 „Kosmologische Wissensformationen der Vormoderne: Tradierung und Wandel in diachroner und transkultureller Perspektive“ (Leitung: J. Renn), organisiert von Pietro Daniel Omodeo.

Although Telesio is an ‘author of one single work,’ his natural science is multifarious, rich and complex. His legacy cannot be reduced to simple schemes.

His magnum opus is the fruit of a whole life dedicated to intense study and research aimed at revealing the deepest secrets of nature and its first principles and, at the same time, clarifying specific phenomena.

The breadth as well as the attention to detail in Telesio’s De natura iuxta propria principia results in the inclusion of questions that are apparently remote from a standard understanding of natural science, for example the psycho-physical issues, anthropological problems and ethical themes introduced in the third extended edition of the work in 1586.

This variety is also characteristic of the posthumous books on natural science, a rich collection of scientific materials, which were printed by Telesio’s loyal pupil, Antonio Persio, under the rather generic title Varii de naturalibus rebus libelli (1590).

The issues discussed in this miscellanea ranged from comets to earthquakes, tides and rainbows. They also comprised discussions on medical, physiological and cognitive questions like respiration, taste and sleep.

In spite of the apparent disparity of these questions, they are made coherent by the author’s visionary spirit and his grand project for a systematic treatment of nature. He accomplished this ambitious philosophical program as an explicit polemic against the Aristotelian-scholastic tradition, which was still held in great esteem at the universities of the time.

The pillars of Telesio’s conception were an epistemology based on the reliability of the senses and a dynamic view of nature, which he pitted against the abstract, and thus ill-founded, rational constructions of the Scholastics. According to him, nature’s dynamism rested on an eternal opposition between the principals of celestial heat and terrestrial coldness and their effect on passive matter.

This workshop aims to discuss and clarify the historical-scientific framework of Telesio’s conceptions of nature from an interdisciplinary perspective ranging from the history of natural philosophy to that of astronomy, meteorology, medicine and psychology.

The languages of the workshop will be Italian and English.

Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Berlin, in Kooperation mit dem Sonderforschungsbereich 980 „Episteme in Bewegung“, Freie Universität Berlin, und dem Centro Internazionale di Studi Telesiani Bruniani e Campanelliani, Cosenza.




Jürgen Renn (Berlin)

Nuccio Ordine (Cosenza)
„Presentazione della collaborazione tra il Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte e il Centro Internazionale di Studi Telesiani Bruniani e Campanelliani“


Roberto Bondi (Cosenza)
„Il primo dei moderni: Telesio tra Bacon e Galileo“




Elio Nenci (Milano)
„In Search of the True Nature of the Rainbow: the Renewal of the Aristotelian Tradition and the De iride


Pietro Daniel Omodeo (Berlin)
„Telesio’s Tidal Theory in De mari x-xiii“


Oreste Trabucco (Napoli)
„Meteorologia telesiana: una diuturna polemica“




Hiro Hirai (Nijmegen)
„Telesio and His Use of Averroes“


Miguel Ángel Granada (Barcelona)
„‚Spiritus‘ e ‚anima a Deo immissa‘ in Telesio“




Rodolfo Garau (Torino/Berlin)
„Self-Preservation in Telesio: Natural Philosophy and Ethics“


Riccarda Suitner (Erfurt-Gotha)
„Reformation, Naturalism and Telesian Philosophy: the Case of Agostino Doni“

Zeit & Ort

27.05.2015 | 09:30 s.t - 18:30

Tagungsraum, Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Boltzmannstraße 22, 14195 Berlin